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Speed Skating

When you hear the word speed skating what do you think of? Do you think of Dan Jansen in the last winter Olympics speeding across the ice? Perhaps you think of Chad Hedreck with his ten gold medals from the inline racing world championship a few years ago? If you thought about either one of these or anything like it you are exactly right. The are both great speed skaters. Dan skates on ice, and Chad is an inline racer. From the skates and training to the over all style and form of skating you will find amazing similarities and differences between ice and wheels.

The traditional skates as we all remember had four wheels, two wheels on each side of the foot. In 1991 inlines were introduced to the speed skating world. Nobody expected the success that the inlines brought. About the same time in the ice world the new clap skate was being introduced. Ice skates and inlines skates are very similar. The boots, made of leather are exactly the same. You could use the same boot for either one. Both skates are extremely light, which helps with faster speeds. The main difference between the two is found in the lower portion or the skate. The inlines have five wheels and is about fourteen inches long. The ice skates have a razor sharp blade, which is about seventeen inches long.

Training for the two sports is virtually identical, however, there are some

differences. With inlines most of your training time is spent on you skates. You skate on various surfaces. An outdoor track, road courses, and indoor tracks are some of these different sufaces. Most of the training sessions are about two hours and you might have one or two a day. Ice skating has a very different training schedule. Most of the training time is spent off the skates. You may skate two or so hours a day but you work out with weights and do exercises for four or more hours a day. The exercises that are done are the same in each sport.

The style of the two types of skating is very important and unique. For instance, on inlines you use what is called the double push method. It is only used with inlines. You bend over at the waist about half way down. This is to help with the center of gravity. Technique is the key to success in both sports. Ice-skating is much more technical. Bending over as low as you can is one of the main fundamentals of ice speed skating. This allows you to extend your legs to get maximum power and extension out of each stroke.

Speed skating is a great sport wither you are on blades or wheels. Between the skates, and the form I have concluded that if you can do one of the successfully then you should be able to learn with a small amount of work how to do the other.


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